Legislative Council: Wednesday, May 18, 2022


Wortley, Hon. R.P.

The Hon. N.J. CENTOFANTI (Leader of the Opposition) (14:21): My question is to the Leader of the Government regarding the retirement of the Hon. Russell Wortley. I seek leave to make a brief explanation before asking that question.

The Hon. R.P. Wortley: I'm still here, though.

The Hon. N.J. CENTOFANTI: Exactly, precisely.

Leave granted.

The Hon. N.J. CENTOFANTI: In February this year, it was reported that the Hon. Russell Wortley committed to donating the equivalent of three months' redundancy payment, win or lose the election at No. 5. He said he would give the funds to the Royal Life Saving Society. Could the leader please confirm if the Hon. Russell Wortley has made the promised donation to the Royal Life Saving Society?

The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Attorney-General, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Minister for Industrial Relations and Public Sector) (14:22): I thank the honourable member for her question. I have found over the many, many years—I think some 20 years—I have known the Hon. Russell Wortley that he is a very honourable person. In my experience he does what he says he is going to do.

This is a very interesting topic. It wasn't the Liberal opposition leader, it wasn't the shadow treasurer or anyone else agitating this story, it was in fact the Whip in the lower house, David Pisoni, trying to agitate with this story. This is the same member, the member for Unley, David Pisoni, who is clinging to his seat by his fingernails with an 8.8 per cent swing against him.

Members interjecting:

The PRESIDENT: A point of order has been called. What is your point of order?

The Hon. N.J. CENTOFANTI: Point of order: I didn't ask the leader for his commentary on the member for Unley. I asked him a simple question. Can he please answer it?

The PRESIDENT: There is no point of order. The question has been asked. It is within the minister's prerogative to answer it in a way he sees fit, but of course there needs to be some relevance to the answer.

The Hon. K.J. MAHER: The story that appeared in the media, to which the Leader of the Opposition is referring, had as a spokesperson from the Liberal Party, oddly and strangely, the Whip of the Liberal party. We have seen this a number of times. We have seen infighting in the Liberal Party all trying to outdo each other. We have seen it with the shadow health minister and the Leader of the Opposition.

What we are seeing just this week from the Liberal party room is media outlets actually being provided with the paper that went to the Liberal party room, before they had a chance to consider it, from the Liberal health spokesperson. This is the sort of rabble and shambles this party has already found themselves in, and it is highlighted by the fact that we are seeing not a Leader of the Opposition, not a shadow treasurer, not a spokesperson for accountability, but the Whip in the lower house fighting his colleagues for relevancy and putting forward this story. It is just extraordinary. I don't remember this in my lifetime.

The Hon. N.J. CENTOFANTI: Point of order.

The PRESIDENT: Do you have a supplementary question?

The Hon. N.J. CENTOFANTI: I have a question that hasn't been answered.

The PRESIDENT: What is your supplementary question?